The WW2 Christmas Menu

December 6, 2020.  As we prepare for a holiday season based on social distancing due to Covid-19, rather than gatherings with family and friends, it’s important to remember than in the overall scheme of things, our ‘sacrifices’ for one holiday period, in order to keep everyone safe, are small.  During times of war, many families were separated from loved ones.  Unlike us, they didn’t know if they would ever see each other again.

CIMG4915 Nov 15 2020 Brenda Boudreau with Dads uniform

Brenda Boudreau with her father’s RCAF dress uniform jacket.  (Photo credit: Daria Valkenburg)

Brenda Boudreau of Victoria-By-The-Sea, Prince Edward Island, reflected that, during WW2, her grandmother “…had three sons overseas, not knowing if they were in danger or not...”  One of these sons was Brenda’s father, Robert ‘Scott’ MACQUARRIE.

In 1940, Scott and his brother Clifford (known as ‘Huck’) enlisted with the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) in New Brunswick.  Brenda explained that “…having had mechanical experience, they were ideal recruits for the RCAF aircraft mechanic training, which they completed at the base in St Thomas, Ontario. Later, their brother Bill joined the US Navy, as he was living in Massachusetts at the time…

Scott MacQuarrie cropped

Robert ‘Scott’ MacQuarrie in his RCAF uniform.  (Photo courtesy of Brenda Boudreau)

Scott was sent to England and was assigned to the No. 408 “Goose” RCAF Squadron, based in Leeming, Yorkshire, under the operational command of the British Royal Air Force, and part of Bomber Command’s main force. (See http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RCAF/408_wwII.html and https://www.rcafassociation.ca/heritage/history/rcaf-and-the-crucible-of-war/408-squadron/ for more information.)

Like all of us during periods of stress, thoughts turn to comfort food, and the RCAF made sure everyone had a special holiday dinner. Scott shared a holiday menu from Christmas 1942, signed by the attendees, with his family back on PEI. 

1942 Xmas menu - cropped

The 1942 Christmas menu for RCAF’s 408 Squadron in Leeming, Yorkshire, with signatures from some of those present. (Menu courtesy of Brenda Boudreau)

1942 Xmas menu signed back - Cropped

The back of the 1942 Christmas menu for RCAF’s 408 Squadron in Leeming, Yorkshire, with signatures from some of those present.  (Menu courtesy of Brenda Boudreau)

The signed menu was poignant as not all those present in December 1942 survived the war.  Brenda related that her father “…. did not see action first hand on the battle fields.  His job as aircraft mechanic was to ensure the bombers were airworthy before starting out on the missions…. However, as she pointed out, “…They always knew when they signaled the crews out onto the runway for a mission, the possibility of never seeing them again was real...

Scott survived the war and, after being discharged on October 25, 1945, returned home.  His wartime skills were put to good use.   …. Scott, along with his brother Huck and a third Victoria veteran, RCAF aero engineer John Knox, were all hired as aircraft mechanics with a local airline, Maritime Central Airways, in Charlottetown. Sadly, both Huck and John were killed in airline accidents in the 1950’s. Scott continued to work as aero engineer and crew chief until his retirement in 1973…

As we make our 2020 holiday plans, let’s give thanks that we are not in a wartime situation.  Unlike in 1942, through technology we can share our experiences virtually until the day comes that we can all get together again.

Thank you to Brenda Boudreau for sharing the story of her father and the Christmas menu.  Do you have photos or information to share about 408 Squadron, any of the people identified on the 1942 Christmas menu (see below), or Maritime Central Airways?  If so, please email Pieter at dariadv@yahoo.ca or comment on the blog. 

The following names were decipherable enough to be transcribed from the 1942 Christmas menu:

  • B. S. AKENS of Stratford, Ontario
  • H.E.D. ASHFORD
  • J. E. BECKETT
  • W. R. BENHAM of Brighton, England
  • Cyril R. BURUSACK of Scott, Saskatchewan
  • Mo CULLIERT
  • R.N. DAVIDSON of Georgetown, Ontario
  • Stu ELLIOTT of Ancaster, Ontario
  • Jim ESTEY of New Brunswick
  • Molly FISHER of Manchester, England
  • G. GILBERT of Wilcox, Saskatchewan
  • G. GILBY of North Alberton, England
  • P. GRANT
  • Walt HARVEY of Ingersoll, Ontario
  • S.A.C. HAWLEY of Sutton, Quebec
  • Bill HOLDEN
  • Russ HUBBARD of Toronto, Ontario
  • L.A.C. JONES of Codette, Saskatchewan
  • Jim LAW of Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Cliff MAGUIRE of Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • R.M. MCBRIDE of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  • S. MCCRACKEN of Toronto, Ontario
  • B. MCDANIEL of Regina, Saskatchewan
  • F.A. MCLEISH of Orillia, Ontario
  • J.B. MILLAR of Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • N. A. MITCHELL of London, Ontario
  • O. PADBURY of North Alberton, England
  • J. E. PEPPER of Toronto, Ontario
  • G. POOLE of Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Joyce READ of Huddersfield, England
  • W.G. RINE of Ingersoll, Ontario
  • D. ROWE of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
  • S.A.C. RUTHERFORD of Midland, Ontario
  • W. SWETMAN

41-412746_subscribe-our-youtube-channel-png-transparent-png

On The War Memorial Trail With Pieter Valkenburg: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ591TyjSheOR-Cb_Gs_5Kw

© Daria Valkenburg

One thought on “The WW2 Christmas Menu

  1. Pingback: The Author Talk At Victoria Playhouse | On The War Memorial Trail Research Project…….. with Pieter and Daria Valkenburg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s